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Tort Reform Seems to Have the Opposite Effect of Benefits Anticipated

Our Illinois personal injury lawyers are aware of a common misconception proffered by policymakers and pundits that says medical malpractice litigation is to blame for the spike in healthcare costs and disappearing access to healthcare. Nevertheless, despite these urban legends it’s simply not the truth.

Having heard countless tall tales detailing burglars who have filed for damages after getting hurt while robbing a home, and judges who have sued over the loss of clothes at the drycleaners, it seems that there is no limit to the hundreds of grievances that can and would be filed. Placing a limit on the types of lawsuits that can be filed, as well as the amount of damages that can be recovered would seem to be a solution — however, we must ask ourselves if this is really the way things are. The numbers would shock most Americans with the sheer lack of statistics supporting that picture of society.

If we take a closer look at the figures of actual lawsuit statistics, research typically shows Americans rarely take their disputes to court. For every one thousand grievances, there are only 718 claims made. This means that many clashes simply end with an informal decision between the parties to let the grievance go, and resolve differences outside of court. Within the scope of the 718 claims, only 449 of them turn into disputes in which one party doesn’t agree with the suggested compensation. Taking it one step further, of the 449 contentions, only 103 of those claims actually consult lawyers with regard to the grievance. At this point we must realize that only ten percent of the infringements make it as far as a law office, which perhaps begins to debunk the myth of lawsuit-crazed Americans. But it doesn’t stop there. Of those that have made it as far as consulting an attorney, only 50 actually file in court. That’s 50 out of the original 1000 disputes. As we can easily see, lawsuits are simply not as prevalent in this country as we make them out to be.

But what about Illinois medical malpractice cases in particular? For the answer to that question, we can look to Texas for a prime example. In 2003, the state imposed some of the strictest liability caps in the country. According to the Star Telegram, the result was all but disastrous; in fact, the report showed that Medicare spending in Texas has risen faster than the national average, and so have private health insurance premiums, but it has done nothing to increase the number of doctors in the state, and the law only benefits insurance companies – not the general public.

Despite the caps on damages that were originally instituted more than 7 years ago and intended to indirectly cause insurance premiums to drop, it seems that health care coverage is unaffordable to more Texans since the law took effect. The Star Telegram reports that healthcare costs and insurance premiums have continued to rise in Texas even more than the national average since the cap on medical malpractice damages was enacted – exactly the opposite of what was supposed to happen.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers have always fought hard for their client’s rights, and strived to obtain fair compensation for clients after devastating incidents such as permanent injury or the loss of a family member.